If you’ve been left with a long-term work-related illness or injury, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Once the insurer makes a settlement offer, you can either decide to accept it, negotiate a better settlement, or proceed to a hearing and have a judge decide the matter.
Types of workers’ comp benefits
There are several different types of workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to, including:
Permanent partial impairment (PPI). You may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits even if you are not completely disabled or unable to work at all. PPI benefits are usually available to workers who have lost a body part — finger, toe, hand, foot — or if your disability limits what you can do, such as lifting heavy objects or standing for long periods of time. PPI benefits may also be available to those who suffer permanent scarring or disfigurement. PPI benefits are calculated at 70% of the worker’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $350 per week.
Permanent total disability (PTD): These benefits are paid for a work-related injury or condition that is permanent and leaves you unable to perform any work. Permanent Total Disability benefits are calculated at 70% of your average weekly wage up to a maximum rate of $867.71 per week.
Temporary partial disability (TPD). If you are able to return to work but can only perform light-duty work that may be lower-paying, you could be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are calculated at 70% of the difference between your wages before and after the accident.
Temporary total disability (TTD). These benefits may apply if you are unable to do any type of work. In Oklahoma, the maximum rate for TTD benefits is $867.71 per week.
Negotiating settlement agreements
One critical area where you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney’s expertise is in negotiating a settlement with your employer’s insurance company. Your attorney will be able to estimate the value of your case (e.g., the amount of benefits you should receive) based on a number of factors, including:
- The scope of your injuries and limitations to your daily activities
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Whether you will suffer a permanent disability due to your injury
- Whether you are owed any wage loss benefits
In addition, your attorney will be able to ensure your settlement agreement is properly structured to avoid any negative impacts down the road. For example, if you are applying for or receiving Social Security disability benefits, there is a workers’ compensation offset that could cost you hundreds of dollars in benefits every month if your settlement agreement is not properly designed to avoid it.
Don’t make the mistake of signing an unfair settlement simply because you didn’t understand the terms. To avoid this problem, hire an attorney who has plenty of experience helping injured workers reach favorable settlements.
If you have been injured at work, contact the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our experienced attorneys will aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you are awarded the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.